Low-hanging clouds kept temperatures cool as thousands flocked to the streets of Hamlet for the 30th annual Seaboard Festival on Saturday. A line of colorful tents, vendors and entertainment lined Main Street in celebration of the city’s railroad heritage.
Festival President Marissa Grooms said she was pleased with the turnout this year.
“I think we probably had as good a crowd as we’ve ever had,” she said. “I’ll estimate that we had about 15,000 people this year.”
The threat of rain didn’t keep surrounding churches, organizations and crafters from their spaces along the busy street as they sold food and homemade items, gave out information and greeted passersby throughout the morning and afternoon.
Candy Martin and Ava White of Wreath Works sold holiday wreaths and other home decor items from their tent on Saturday.
“We do this out of our basement,” Martin said of the crafting business. “We shop at yard sales, thrift stores, craft stores — anything we see that we think would look good in a wreath, we’ll make it.”
The business also takes custom orders and ships anywhere in the United States. They can be found on Facebook or contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or wreathworks.etsy.com.
Farther down the street were smells of funnel cakes, hot dogs and other fair foods as well as handcrafted clothing items and accessories. Music and high energy filled the air from entertainment acts on either end of the road, and various singers, dancers and performances took the stage throughout the day.
New this year to the festival were four Amtrak train cars that visitors could explore on the platform. According to Grooms, the new addition brought positive results.
“It was a good way to get out awareness and get out information,” she said. “We were glad to see them come. It was the first time, so I think it was a really enlightening experience on both sides.”
Earlier in the day, participants lined up for the annual Seaboard Festival 5K race — among them was Ron Mayo of Hamlet, affectionately known as the “Mayor of Main Street,” who has been described as a walking inspiration to others.
Back in May, Mayo’s leg was amputated due to an infection in the bone below his knee, but only five short months later, he said he chose to participate in the 5K as a personal goal.
“I’ve set some different goals because I’m not going to be one to sit down and do nothing,” he said. “I had started walking anyway for exercise and I knew they had the 5K … I just wanted to motivate. Even though I couldn’t run it, walking makes a big difference.”
Mayo said he thought the race brought about 100 participants.
“It went wonderfully,” he said. “The whole thing had a really large turnout … even though I came in last, I finished. Some of the teams came back after they finished to find me and finish walking in.”
He called the 5K a very big accomplishment.
“My biggest goal now is to take my wife dancing,” he said.
— Staff Writer Mallory Brown can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.